Recent Fire Damage Posts
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries. If you need help installing, testing, or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician, or the American Red Cross.
October Is Fire Prevention Month
October is Fire Prevention Month - a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness. The 2018 theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere." This theme hopes to create awarenes in the steps necessary to reduce the chance of a fire and how to react in the event a fire does happen. The NFPA states the following: "LOOK" for places fire could start. Identify potential hazards and take care of them. "LISTEN" for the sound of the smoke alarm. "LEARN" two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
What To Do If You Have Fire and Smoke Damage
Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet. Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor. Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant. If heat is off during the winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs, to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures. Wash both sides of leaves on house plants. Change the HVAC filter, but leave the system off until a trained professional can check the system. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Destroy Odors With Deodorization
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke, and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems. As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors. With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO of High Point provides specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO of High Point does not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the sources of the odor. If you suffer from a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO of High Point. Whether it's fire, water, or mold damage, or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Dangers Of Fireworks...
FIREWORKS SAFETY!!! It's fireworks season! According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), an average of 18,500 fires are started every year by fireworks. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. "These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage", says the NFPA. Do you think sparklers are the safe way to go ? NOPE: they account for about a fourth of emergency room fireworks injuries. STAY SAFE THIS SUMMER by paying close attention to children at firework events, and avoiding the use of consumer fireworks.
CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY
Each November, families father to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times the average number.
Protein Fires Are A Unique Challenge
Protein Fire Pot
Contrary to most house fires that occur, the typical kitchen fire or “protein fire” produce little visible smoke residue. Protein fires create an especially unique restoration challenge. The low level of heat reduces the animal fat and food protein and leaves a thin layer of film on surfaces. Many homeowners mistakenly underestimate the damage as there may be little or no black residue that you would expect to see after a typical fire. The layer of film that is produced from these fires can create a rancid strong odor that also compromises the structure and contents. These protein residues penetrate cabinets, drawers, air ducts, furniture, clothing, draperies etc. Here are some important facts regarding this type of fire.
- Protein fires generally leave little visible residue that can sometimes be overlooked at first.
- They create a significantly more repugnant smell than most other fires.
- The nature of the burn causes the odor to permeate structure and furniture even more completely than other fires.
- Require extremely thorough cleaning by a trained professional to remove the odor.
- Sometimes require a sealing agent or even repainting to completely eradicate the odor.
- May require multiple attempts and methods to achieve customer satisfaction.
It is also important to recognize that perception of odor is highly individual. There are no tools available to “measure” smell, and as a result, a homeowner may perceive odors that technicians or even neighbors cannot. Often, because of the strong link between smell and memory, a homeowner may experience “phantom odors” where the memory of the event causes reproduction of the odor even after thorough cleaning. It takes extensive cleaning of walls, floors, ceilings and contents of the home to rid the home of these odors and should be handled by professional cleaning and restoration company no matter what size of job.
Fire Extinguisher Tips
Make sure when choosing a fire extinguisher for your home or business that you choose the right class of extinguisher for the job. Fire extinguishers are broken into classes and each class is designed to extinguish different types of fires. Here are the different classes of extinguishers:
Class A – This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
Class B – Used on fires involving flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline and oil.
Class C – Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electrically charged or plugged in.
Class D – For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.
Class K – Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular in the residential market for use in kitchens.
***Information provided by the National Fire Protection Association.
Occasionally, you may have smoke damage in your home that seems harmless. Some examples of these incidents are burning a dinner, “puff-backs” from a furnace, smoke from a candle or lamp, or even a small fire from an appliance that you are to put out quickly with an extinguisher…but what about the smoke? Experienced fire restoration professionals know that areas seemingly unaffected by fire damage are still a danger to homeowners. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Smoke can coat your entire home with soot and leave toxic residues that can act as an irritant if not properly cleaned and can cause health issues. Now, before I go further, I would like to point out that planning ahead to prevent fires in the home is the best thing you can do.
Here are 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 and your HVAC duct work to go from floor to floor and throughout your home.
- There are several types of smoke which affect how it acts and determines what type of cleaning process is required.
Types of smoke include:
- Wet smoke – results from smoldering fires with low heat. Residues are sticky, smeary and with pungent odors. Smoke webs can be difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke – results from fast burning fires at high temperatures. Residues are often dry, powdery, small, non-smeary smoke particles.
- Protein Smoke – here’s your burning chicken. Virtually invisible residues that discolor paints and varnishes. Extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel-Oil Soot Smoke – this is a result of a furnace malfunction (commonly known as a “puff-back”)
When having someone clean up smoke damage in your home, it’s important that they perform an inspection and do pretesting. A fire damage restoration professional should determine the extent of the smoke and fire damage, make sure unaffected areas are protected, determine which materials can be restored and which need to be replaced, and the most effective cleaning methods. These steps also allow the focus to be on saving precious items and keepsakes for you.