Recent Fire Damage Posts

Grease Fire Facts

8/9/2018 (Permalink)

Mouth Watering, salty, greasy French fries cook on your stovetop. All of a sudden, the smell turns from delectable to dangerous as the smoke fills your home. What happened? When oil gets to hot and left unattended a grease fire can occur. Know what actions to take if this occurs in your home.

  • Never try putting out a grease fire with water!
  • If the fire has spread beyond the pot or appears out of control, immediately get to safety and call 911. Inform the operator that you suspect a grease fire.
  • If the fire is small and contained, turn off the heat source
  • Use a metal lid to cover the pot. It is a good idea to keep this handy on the counter every time you cook with oil. Cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply is the quickest way to stop the blaze in its tracks.
  • Pour salt or baking soda on the fire
  • Use a fire extinguisher but, be sure that the extinguisher is a Class B or Class K, multi-class extinguishers are acceptable if it has the Class B.

Fire Damage Cleanup

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

Need an estimate for fire damage? Call our office at (803)755-9774.

Inspection and Pretesting
The SERVPRO of Cayce/West Columbia Professional pretests while inspecting the property to determine the extent of fire damage and the scope of needed cleaning, restoration, and repairs.

  • The full extent of the smoke and fire damage. How many materials are affected by smoke or fire? What is the proper method for cleaning? Will your personal belongings need to be relocated while your house is restored? These are just a few of the decisions that must be made.
  • Unaffected areas - It can be vital to protect areas that were not affected by soot and odor before the damage spreads to these areas. It will save you money!
  • What materials can be restored and what materials must be replaced. Are the smoke residues cleanable? Who is completing the inventory of items that are damaged beyond repair? Fire damage pretesting is vital. A complete inventory is invaluable! How long will the cleanup take? We'll let you know what to expect.
  • The most effective cleaning methods. What work procedures will restore the damaged materials?

Pretesting also allows the SERVPRO of Cayce/West Columbia Professional to focus on saving precious items or keepsakes for you.

Once the fire damage mitigation begins, the Franchise Professional will keep you informed and answer your questions, all while working to help make the fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

Kitchen Fires Happen

8/2/2018 (Permalink)

Sunday Supper, fried chicken cooking and the phone rings. You walk out for 5 minutes and return to find your pan flaming to the ceiling. You hang up the phone, dial 911, pour baking soda on the flames and cover the pot.  The fire is out, your home is standing, but now your kitchen is a mess !

                No need to worry, the team at SERVPRO of Cayce/West Columbia is here and ready.  Our talented staff can clean and restore your home and make it like it never even happened.  Our team members are specially trained in the correct methods to remove soot, stains and odors from your home.  With our patented line of cleaning products and industry leading equipment, we can remove that unsightly black from your walls, neutralize the odor from your home, and even remove damaged furnishings and appliances. 

What can you do to prevent this from happening?


    • Never leave a hot pan unattended.


    • When cooking with grease, always use a pan with a lid.


    • Never pour water on a grease fire.


    • Use baking soda to put out the flame.


    • Keep a fire extinguisher in your home.


    • Monitor cooking grease with a thermometer.  Animal fat has a flashpoint of  375°F while most cooking oils have a flashpoint of around 450°F.


    • If you notice an acrid smell coming from the grease or any signs of smoke, remove the pan from heat immediately.

  • Call SERVPRO of Cayce/West Columbia (803)755-9774

3 Steps to Protect Pets from a Fire

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

3 Steps to Protect Pets from a Fire

Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by fires every year, according to the United States Fire Administration. Promote the safety of the people and animals in your home in the event of a fire emergency by planning ahead. From preventative caution to making an evacuation plan that includes pet safety, here are three pet preparation steps you can take today.

1. Avoid open flames. Cats or dogs may knock candles over or singe their tails in open flames. Try a flameless candle alternative instead. You should also consider the risk posed by knobs on a gas stove. If you leave your pets unconfined at home while you are away, you may want to block the kitchen entrance or install protective covers to prevent pets from accidentally turning on the gas. 

2. Include pets in fire safety and evacuation plans. Prepare to safely evacuate pets along with the rest of your family in a fire emergency. Obtain and put up a front window cling to inform firefighters of the number and types of pets living in your home.

3. Gather pet records and supplies in a fire box. Store this box near an exterior door so that you can quickly grab all of these items during an evacuation. Make sure to include ownership and vaccination records as well as spare collars and leashes in case you need to control or restrain a frightened pet.

These simple steps can help you prevent fires and promote pet safety in the event of a fire emergency. You may also want to keep other home ownership or insurance records in a place where you can also easily find and take them in the event of an evacuation.

Fire Damage Repair and Restoration

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

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. When various materials burn, the soot and residue they create differs greatly and requires a specific cleaning procedure. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage restoration. Learn more about our fire damage restoration process.

  1. Emergency Contact
  2. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
  3. Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  4. Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  5. Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  6. Cleaning and Repair
  7. Restoration

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today –803-755-9774

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Cayce/West Columbia is locally owned and operated and we are proud to be part of this community. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale fire, water, and storm disasters

How To Put Out the Grease Fire You Might Have Started

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

How To Put Out the Grease Fire You Might Have Started
1. Turn off the source of heat. Typically, this means turn off the stove your pot or pan is sitting on. If the dial is on the back of the stove, avoid reaching directly over the fire while you do so.
2. Cover with a metal lid or another pot, pan, or even cooking sheet. The idea is to remove as much oxygen as possible from the flame.
3. If you cannot get something on it to cover, throw on baking soda (tons of it) or salt.
4. Use a Class B fire extinguisher as your last resort. If you are unsure of what that is, it is better to simply follow the next step and forget this one.
5. If the fire is taking too long to contain or is larger than you feel comfortable dealing with, get out of the house. Shut the door on your way out to help keep the fire contained, and once you are a safe distance away, call 911.

In order to keep yourself and the rest of your property safe, do not do the following:

1. Use water or any fabrics to put out a grease fire. 
2. Use baking powder or any powders that looks like baking soda or salt. They might look the same on the outside but are made of different chemicals and can lead to a less-than-fun chemistry experiment.
3. Try to move the flaming pot or pan.

As much as you may want to save the cosmetics of the kitchen, safety is always more important than easy fire cleanup. The steps above may help you put the grease fire out sooner and with less damage, but if you have any doubts, you should always follow step #5 first and seek the help of professionals at SERVPRO of Cayce, West Columbia, and Lexington at 803-755-9774

Soot? Now What?

8/1/2017 (Permalink)

Soot? Now what?

Did you have a fire???

Did that fire leave you with an awful black mess all over your belongings???

Are you questioning why this has happened and what to do now???

Well hopefully I can help you with your questions and concerns.

So, what is soot damage, anyways?

Well that is a very good question! Soot by definition is, “a black powder that is formed when something is burned.” 

Obviously, we already figured out that the soot came from something that has burned, or we wouldn’t be in this current predicament, now would we!

But seriously, soot is nothing to play with, especially when it is involving your home.

When you have a fire, soot is the carbon particles that become airborne, leaving your property in disarray.

So, there is soot, is it safe to be around?

After you have a fire, you may have lots of emotions going through you right now, and you may be concerned about the soot that has taken over everything and if it is safe for you and your family.

Immediately after a fire, soot residue will settle onto your possessions.

 In certain instances, soot can be very toxic and hazardous to your health.

Soot contains elements of the burned material and during soot removal you should avoid exposure. Exposure to soot residue could be detrimental to your health: causing respiratory distress and other medical emergencies.

Your next thought may be:  to clean or not to clean?

If you are the type of person with patience and the drive to get something done, you may want to try your hand at cleaning your own belongings. Just remember safety always comes first!

It’s important to make sure you have the right protective gear when dealing with soot removal, such as: gloves, protective eye wear, face mask, and protective clothing.

Also, you should make sure you have proper ventilation to help clear the air of any soot and odors. (A box fan in the windows will help).

When cleaning your soot damage home, using soap and water, you should always start with the top of the room and work your way to the bottom of the room, making sure to wipe all knick- knacks along the way.

Additionally, using your vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, vacuum your upholstery, lamp shades, and carpet. This prevents the soot from being blown back into the areas you already cleaned.

For your clothing and linens, wash several times in your normal liquid detergent.

If your soot problem is a little too much too handle, you may want to call in the professionals!!! 

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington, will pretest to determine the degree of the damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the diverse types of surfaces in your home.

Depending on the amount of soot, SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington, may be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense acquired with repainting or refinishing.

In other cases, SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington, will clean and get your structure prepared to paint, this process allows the paint to better adhere to the surface, as well as deodorize.

Things NOT to do when you have soot damage!

  • Don’t attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to a fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don’t use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the incident.
  • Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.

For more valuable information on soot and fire damage please visit http://www.IICRC.org/what-after-smoke-damage-has-happened-a-140.html or don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington!

Kitchen Fires

8/1/2017 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fires:

The kitchen is where more home fires occur than anywhere else in the house and cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Although, kitchen fires generally begin on the stove, the damage can affect the entire kitchen or even the entire house.

Dealing with a fire in your home can be very overwhelming and devastating, but there are some easy steps that may help you cope during your loss. These helpful steps will help prevent further damage to your home:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery to prevent additional soiling.
  • Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
  • Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia offers a variety of services, such as smoke and soot removal, deodorization, water removal and dehumidification, to help restore your home to preloss condition when possible. Proper remediation, can help prevent further damage such as odors, mold growth and permanent discoloration of items.

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to help get your life back on the right track.

Fire Damage In a Cayce/ West Columbia Home

7/18/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage In a Cayce/ West Columbia Home SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia made this fire "Like it never even happened."

An electrical fire caused this Cayce/ West Columbia home to have a house fire. This before picture shows the mess left behind after the fire was put out. 

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia was called to clean up the aftermath! The owner was thrilled that we were able to return their home to pre-fire condition. 

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.

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 Cayce/ West Columbia 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. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (803) 755-9774

Fire Extinguisher Safety

7/10/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguisher Safety

Do you know what to do in case of a small fire? Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher? Do you own a fire extinguisher? SERVPRO offers some tips about fire extinguishers!

https://youtu.be/gFifToYGgto

Home Emergency Tips: Fire and Smoke Damage

6/19/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Home Emergency Tips: Fire and Smoke Damage If you experience fire or smoke damage contact SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington at: (803) 755-9774.

Home Emergency Tips: Fire and Smoke Damage

Your home is a place to relax, play and enjoy spending time with your family. Our home is also where we spend a good bit of our time, which is why we are going to talk about some simple steps to minimize the risk of getting hurt. Below are some helpful tips to prevent serious injuries that are often completely preventable.

What to Do in case of fire or smoke damage:

  • 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.
  • Blow or brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpets.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpeted traffic areas.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What Not to Do in case of fire or smoke damage:

  • Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO professional.
  • Do not attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO professional.
  • Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV’s, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Do not use any canned or packaged foods or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water- they may have been contaminated.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be wet or damaged.
  • Do not send fabrics to an ordinary dry cleaner- improper cleaning may set the smoke odor.

For more advice on what to do after a fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington at: (803) 755-9774.

Soot? Now What?

6/14/2017 (Permalink)

Soot? Now what?

Did you have a fire???

Did that fire leave you with an awful black mess all over your belongings???

Are you questioning why this has happened and what to do now???

Well hopefully I can help you with your questions and concerns.

So, what is soot damage, anyways?

Well that is a very good question! Soot by definition is, “a black powder that is formed when something is burned.” 

Obviously, we already figured out that the soot came from something that has burned, or we wouldn’t be in this current predicament, now would we!

But seriously, soot is nothing to play with, especially when it is involving your home.

When you have a fire, soot is the carbon particles that become airborne, leaving your property in disarray.

So, there is soot, is it safe to be around?

After you have a fire, you may have lots of emotions going through you right now, and you may be concerned about the soot that has taken over everything and if it is safe for you and your family.

Immediately after a fire, soot residue will settle onto your possessions.

 In certain instances, soot can be very toxic and hazardous to your health.

Soot contains elements of the burned material and during soot removal you should avoid exposure. Exposure to soot residue could be detrimental to your health: causing respiratory distress and other medical emergencies.

Your next thought may be:  to clean or not to clean?

If you are the type of person with patience and the drive to get something done, you may want to try your hand at cleaning your own belongings. Just remember safety always comes first!

It’s important to make sure you have the right protective gear when dealing with soot removal, such as: gloves, protective eye wear, face mask, and protective clothing.

Also, you should make sure you have proper ventilation to help clear the air of any soot and odors. (A box fan in the windows will help).

When cleaning your soot damage home, using soap and water, you should always start with the top of the room and work your way to the bottom of the room, making sure to wipe all knick- knacks along the way.

Additionally, using your vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, vacuum your upholstery, lamp shades, and carpet. This prevents the soot from being blown back into the areas you already cleaned.

For your clothing and linens, wash several times in your normal liquid detergent.

If your soot problem is a little too much too handle, you may want to call in the professionals!!! 

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington, will pretest to determine the degree of the damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the diverse types of surfaces in your home.

Depending on the amount of soot, SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington, may be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense acquired with repainting or refinishing.

In other cases, SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington, will clean and get your structure prepared to paint, this process allows the paint to better adhere to the surface, as well as deodorize.

Things NOT to do when you have soot damage!

  • Don’t attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to a fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don’t use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the incident.
  • Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.

For more valuable information on soot and fire damage please visit http://www.IICRC.org/what-after-smoke-damage-has-happened-a-140.html or don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington!

Fire Safety in the Workplace

6/7/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Safety in the Workplace

No matter the type of business that you are in, fire safety should always be your main concern. Here are a few fire safety tips to consider reinforcing into your daily routine at your workplace.

Fire Prevention:

  • Keep your work area free of paper, trash and any other items that can easily catch fire. Clutter contributes to fires by providing fuel and by preventing access to exits.
  • Watch your electrical cords, if they are damaged in any way, replace them.
  • Don’t overload your circuits.
  • Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.
  • Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn, such as: copiers, coffee makers, and computers.
  • Use and store chemicals safely.
  • Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

In Case of a Fire:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Close doors when exiting to help limit the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building.
  • Never use an elevator.
  • Follow the escape plan and meet at a place outside of your building and away from danger. Do a headcount to make sure all your staff has evacuated.

Fire safety is very important, and could save your life. Make sure to discuss with your staff the importance of fire safety. For more information on fire safety in the workplace you can go to:

 https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/firesafety/ .

Who Will Pick up the Pieces? WE WILL!

6/26/2014 (Permalink)

The leading causes of fire in a home include:

  • Cooking
  • Heating Units
  • Electrical
  • Smoking

No matter how the fire started a rush of emotions and feelings of panic seem to follow. After calling the Fire Department to put out the fire, who do you call to help you clean up the damage caused by the fire?

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia are trained in the cleanup and care of your home and personal belongings following a fire incident. Before attempting to clean up the fire damage yourself, contact us 803-755-9774.

Smoke 101

6/26/2014 (Permalink)

Fire damages are complex due to the unique nature of different types of smoke. Some things you may not know about smoke.

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • They type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
  • Once at a fire scene, a SERVPRO Professional tests the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred.

Types of Smoke:

Wet Smoke Residues: result from smoldering fires with low heat. Residues are sticky and smeary with a pungent odor. Smoke webs can be difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke Residues: result from fast burning fires at high temperatures. Residues are normally dry, powdery, small, nonsmeary smoke particles.

Protein Residues: are virtually invisible residues that discolor paints and varnishes. They have an extreme pungent odor.

Fuel Oil Soot:  occur when furnaces puff back, distributing fuel oil soot.

Other Types of Residue: include tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residues, all requiring cleanup. 

Smoky Success Story

6/26/2014 (Permalink)

Actual Letter from a SERVPRO customer 

“Recently, I listed a 1-bedroom condo that had been owned by a smoker. She moves out and we removed all furniture and anything that might have absorbed smoke. We washed the walls and ceiling and repainted, change the carpet and installed new kitchen appliances. The place looked great but still smelled stale. It went on the market. After the first 3 showings, the buyers declined to make an offer because the condo still smelled strongly of smoke. I called my local SERVPRO Franchise. I knew of them because they had done a water damage cleanup in my neighborhood.

The team came out and we made a list of things to do to “detox" the condo. After the first few measures, there were still a few SERVPRO team kept at it, taking the tiniest details into account until the place smelled fresh and brand new. The team honestly seemed as interested as I was in completely eliminating the odor; they were like hound dogs with their nose on the scent!

As SERVPRO wrapped up, an agent and his buyer looked at the unit and it resulted in a sale. Immediately! Certainly I could smell the difference but the “Sold” status of the condo is even stronger proof of SERVPRO success in ridding the home of the smell of smoke. There’s no question who I’ll call if I ever list a smoker’s home again!" 

Your Recipe for Cooking Safety

6/26/2014 (Permalink)

It is common tradition in the United States for the holidays and cooking to go hand in hand. But more time in the kitchen brings an increased chance for cooking–related fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking has long been the leading cause of residential fires and fire injures, and Thanksgiving is the peak for residential cooking fires. 

Did You Know?

  •  Cooking fires account for nearly half of reported home fires.
  • In 2010, cooking fires resulted in 410 deaths, 5,310 injures and over $993 million in property damage.
  • Three of every five reported, non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the individual attempted to fight the fire themselves.
  • If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner but do not remove the pan. Keep it covered until the pan cools completely.
  • You can reduce the risk of a cooking fire by: Staying in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Check on food regularly and use a timer to remind you of cooking food. Keeping children three feet away from cooking surfaces, also keeping cooking surfaces clean to prevent food or grease build up.

10 Key Fire Safety Tips

6/26/2014 (Permalink)

Though some fires are unavoidable acts of nature or unpredictable accidents, many fires in the home and workplace are avoidable. The following tips, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association, can help reduce the likelihood of a fire in your business or home. 

Watch your cooking
Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food.

Give space heaters space
Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.

Smoke outside
If you must smoke inside, have sturdy, deep ashtray. Never smoke in bed.

Keep matches and lighters out of reach

Keep matches and lighters in high cabinets, preferably under a child lock.

Inspect electrical cords
Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs or have loose connections.

Be careful when using candles
Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn . Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.

Have a fire escape plan
Make a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.

Install smoke alarms
Install alarms on every level of your office  or home and inside bedrooms. Interconnect them so they all sound at once.

Test smoke alarms
Test alarms once per month. Replace batteries once per year or as needed.

Install sprinklers
Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving  your local Fire Department a better chance of saving your property.

FACT

6/26/2014 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

Even a small fire can cause odors in your home for years to come. Any fire in your home is bad. But when you try to clean it up yourself, it can be a disaster. Especially considering that smoke and soot from even a small fire can cause odors that may resurface for years. So, before you risk doing more damage by attempting to clean it up yourself, call us, your local fire, smoke and soot cleanup and restoration experts at SERVPRO.

When Fire Strikes...

6/25/2014 (Permalink)

Fire damage in a home can be a stressful event for a homeowner. Damage to your personal belongings and home are just some of the concerns you may experience. Timely response and thorough mitigation can alleviate these concerns.

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals understand your home is more than four walls. Your home includes your memories and personal belongings. SERVPRO Response Teams are trained in caring for both you and your home. By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can help you restore your home and personal belongings.

So, before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call the fire damage cleanup and restoration professionals at 1-800-SERVPRO. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have worked for over 35 years to make fire damage like it never even happened.

Avoid Holiday Fire Disasters Through Safe Candle Use

6/25/2014 (Permalink)

Candles lend a special light to the holiday season: Halloween jack-o-lanterns, Thanksgiving dinner tables, Advent wreaths, Menorahs, luminarias, and Kwaanza Kinaras. If not for a seasonal purpose, then perhaps the romantic lighting or the smell of sugar cookies has convinced you that candles are an undeniable asset to ambiance. Whatever the reason, candle safety is important, particularly during the holiday season when their use is particularly common. Here are some basic guidelines to help keep you safe. Commit these to memory and avoid the embarrassment of last year's flaming cheese fondu (the result of a single candle... and might I add, not my fault).

Who

Children should be taught to stay away from lit candles. Try to keep them out of reach of young children and pets. Candle lighting is not an appropriate activity for small children, so keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.

Where

Burn candles away from drafts, other heat sources, and all flammable objects or materials. In other words, never use candles near windows or exits. Don't place them on Christmas trees, real or artificial (I know, it's tradition, but setting the house on fire isn't). Keep burning candles away from curtains, wrapping paper, paper, combustible decorations and displays (including Aunt Juanita's hair), flammable liquids, and aerosol sprays (please see Aunt Juanita's hair), such as hair spray, which can explode. Never allow a candle flame to touch any glass surface.

When

Don't burn candles for more than four hours at a time. Unattended candles are an invitation to disaster, so don't forget to snuff out candles before leaving the room or going to bed (that's right, falling asleep to candle light: bad idea). Blowing out candles doesn't do the trick: extinguish them by wetting the wick. 

And some other quick tips:

  • Candles other than jar candles must be used in an appropriate non-tipping, non-flammable holder made of tempered glass or made with a proper glaze.
  • Place candles on a safe, heat-resistant dry surface. If possible, place glass chimneys or shades over them.
  • For Christmas luminarias, use 15-hour votive candles in holders placed in paper bags filled with at least 2 inches of sand. The candle must be of a size that will allow adequate space between the candle and bag so as not to ignite the bag.
  • Remove labels and tags from candles before burning.
  • Keep wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch at all times. This inhibits smoking and carbon build-up at the tip of the wicks and provides a cleaner burn.
  • Sometimes a layer of liquid wax forms that causes the wick to fall to the side. To maintain an even burn, keep the wick centered. This will also protect the candle holder, since a flame that's too close for too long may crack the holder.
  • Keep the wax pool free of foreign objects such as wick trimmings and matches. They will interfere with proper burning and are flammable.
  • Extinguish taper or pillar candles when they get within 2 inches of their holders. Discontinue use of candle containers when 1/2" of wax remains.

Choosing a Tree

6/25/2014 (Permalink)

The difference between the most wonderful time of the year and a call to SERVPRO can be in the choosing of this year's tree. Christmas trees are involved in approximately 400 fires annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These typically result in more than a dozen deaths, dozens of injuries, and more than $10 million in property loss and damage. In short: circuiting tree lights are cited as the leading cause. 

Since the holiday season has begun, take a few of safety tips courtesy of the State Fire Marshal's Office on choosing and preparing Christmas trees for decoration that will minimize the risk of fire and injuries. 

  • If you're buying an artificial tree, it should bear the "Fire Resistant" label. While this type of tree can catch fire, it will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • If you're buying a natural tree, buy the freshest you can find. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • Watch out for trees with a greenish cast to their trunks and branches; many growers spray trees with green paint to make them look more appealing.
  • Cut at least one inch off the trunk's base to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter. A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in four to six hours if water drops below the base of the tree, preventing the tree from absorbing water later when the tree stand is refilled. If a seal does form, another fresh cut will need to be made.
  • To maximize freshness and minimize fire risk, keep the tree outdoors for a few days in a bucket filled with water before bringing it indoors to decorate. The tree stand should hold at least one gallon of water.

Because heated rooms dry out natural trees rapidly, keep the stand filled with water; check the water level daily. A six-foot tree will absorb one gallon of water every two days.

Statistics to Share

6/25/2014 (Permalink)

Based on 2006-2010 annual averages:

  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 16% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • Ranges accounted for the largest share (58%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
  • Three of every five (57%) reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. 

Exercising Caution with Alternative Heat

6/25/2014 (Permalink)

Everyone wants to keep his or her homes and workspace warm during the winter. In an effort to keep heating costs down, many residents and employees will turn to an alternative heat source, such as fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and portable space heaters.

When used and maintained as directed, these methods can effectively warm your home or office. However, there is also an inherent danger, as heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the winter months.

In 2008, the most recent years statistics were available, heating equipment caused more than 66,000 fires and led to more than $1.1 billion in direct property damage. Portable space heaters were responsible for nearly one third of these fires. Some authorities believe the public is at an increased risk of alternative heating fires this year as residents search for ways to cut heating bills in tough economic times.  

Smoke Alarms Save Lives!

6/25/2014 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half. The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detecor requirements are met. 

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. 

Smoke Alarm Safety Tips

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement. 
  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. 
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. 
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps", the battery is low and should be replaces right away. 
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.