Recent Fire Damage Posts

No One Welcomes a Chimney Fire

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

A chimney fire in action can be impressive. Indications of a chimney fire have been described as creating:

  • loud cracking and popping noise
  • a lot of dense smoke, and
  • an intense, hot smell

Chimney fires can burn explosively – noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors or people passing by. Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about.

SERVPRO is a trusted leader in the restoration industry, and our highly trained technicians provide 24-hour emergency service. We're dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster with the training, equipment, and experience to respond to your restoration or cleaning needs.

24-Hour Emergency Service
Faster to Any Size Disaster
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SERVPRO understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it causes your life and home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage. SERVPRO can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO

Christmas tree fires

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

This report provides estimates of the causes and circumstances of home structure fires that began with the ignition of Christmas trees during the five-year period of 2010-2014. Trend data are also presented. Previously published descriptions of Christmas tree fires are also included to show how these fires can happen.

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 210 home1 structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees in 2010-2014. These fires caused an annual average of six civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damage. 
  • On average, one of every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are much more likely to be deadly than most other fires.
  • Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January.
  • In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.

1Homes include one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family housing.

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From Fire

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.

Here is the 8 Most Common Fire Hazards in the Home

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

A fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

1. Candles

Who doesn’t love the romantic glow of candlelight? But, even if you enjoy their fragrance and ambiance, you might want to think twice before lighting a candle and leaving the room. From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

About one-third of these fires started in bedrooms, causing 39% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries. More than half of all candle fires start because of candles that were left too close to flammable items. They should always be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

2. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

3. Electrical & Lighting

Electrical fires can have a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. 

4. Dryers and washing machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

5. Lightning

Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, those caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

6. Children playing with fire

The NFPA says that children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year, causing approximately $172 million in property damage. July is the most active month for these fires, and males start the majority (83%) of them. Younger children under the age of six are more likely to start fires inside, using matches or a lighter as the ignition source. The most frequent sites for fires are the bedroom (39%), kitchen (8%) and living room/family room/den (6%). Older children are more likely to start fires outside.

7. Christmas trees

Like candle fires, Christmas tree fires are more common during the holidays, with 43% occurring in December and 39% in January. The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year and they are more likely to be serious because of the factors that can contribute to the fire: a dry tree, electrical lights and a fuel supply (gifts) under the tree. Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.

8. Cooking

The number one source of house fires is cooking – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 40% of all house fires, or an average of 156,600 per year, start this way, causing approximately $853 million in property damage. Two-thirds of the fires started because the food or other materials caught fire.

Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tried to put out the fire.

Several years ago in Florida, investigators saw a pattern of fraudulent house fires that started in the kitchen when the owners left food cooking on the stove while they ran to the store for a missing ingredient. Grease would catch on fire and the flames spread from there. 

Contact a Fire and Smoke damage Restoration contractor, for any Fire Damage and Smoke damage to your property

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From a Fire

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.

Home Fires During the Holidays, Be Safe

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Avoid being one of many holiday fires, Be safe and have a great holiday season

With the holidays fast approaching, it is crucial that we use caution while preparing our holiday feasts and have a preparedness plan for cooking fires. Cooking is a great way to bring family and friends together but is the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Did you know that during 2009 – 2013 that U.S. Fire Departments handled an average of 162,400 home fires involving cooking equipment per year and these fires caused an annual average of 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage?

Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.  In fact, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) states that there are nearly 4,300 fires will happen around the holiday.  That’s more than double the daily average for residential fires.  The leading cause of holiday fires is food that is left unattended while cooking, which is why SERVPRO of Washington/Woolwich asks for you to be aware while entertaining!

Here are some interesting statistics regarding Cooking Fires:

  • Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your holiday dishes do not overcook.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy holiday season is tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended
  • Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking.
  • More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends during the holidays this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.
  • A large majority (83 percent) acknowledged that they have engaged in dangerous cooking behaviors such as disabling the smoke alarm and leaving cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities - including watching television, talking or texting on the phone, checking email or doing laundry.
  • Looking at the general survey population, a startling one in 10 adults has actually left the home completely while cooking, and others left cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities.

 If you are aware of how to stay safe AND what to do in case you experience a cooking disaster, you should be able to enjoy this time with your family and friends. If all else fails, call SERVPRO of Washington /Woolwich ! We have the equipment, expertise and experience to help make the disaster "Like it never even happened." Have a Very safe and happy holidays!

Plugging a space heater into a power strip can be disastrous here's why

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Plugging a space heater into a power strip can be disastrous here's why

As temperatures begin to dip across the country, millions of people are pulling space heaters out of storage to help warm their homes.

You should never plug a heater into a power strip,

These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow. 

Most people do not realize that power strips are not the same thing as surge protectors.

You should definitely not use an extension cord or power strip, which could easily overheat. And you really shouldn't plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater for safety reasons.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against using extension cords or power strips with space heaters to reduce fire risks. The agency says that portable electric heaters cause 1,100 fires per year, resulting in about 50 deaths, dozens of injuries and millions of dollars in property loss.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 32 percent of home-heating fires involve space heaters, resulting in 79 percent of home-heating fire deaths in the United States.   

Energy Saving Tips for Winter

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Energy Saving Tips for Winter

The strategies below will help you save energy, save money, and stay comfortable during the cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter.

If you haven't already, conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.

Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun

  • Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Cover Drafty Windows

  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.

Adjust the Temperature

 
  • When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature. 
  • If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

Find and Seal Leaks

  • Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Find out how to detect air leaks.
  • Learn more about air sealing new and existing homes.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
  • Find out how to select and apply the appropriate caulk and weatherstripping.

Maintain Your Heating Systems

  • Schedule service for your heating system.
  • Furnaces and heat pumps: Replace your filter once a month or as needed. Find out more about maintaining furnaces or boilers and heat pumps.
  • Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.

Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace

  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly--approximately 1 inch--and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Find out more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning appliance's efficiency. Learn tips for safe and efficient fireplace installation and wood burning.

Lower Your Water Heating Costs

  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.
  • Find other strategies for energy-efficient water heating.

Lower Your Holiday Lighting Costs

  • Use light-emitting diode -- or "LED" -- holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.
  • Learn about the advantages and potential cost savings of LED holiday light strings.
  • Find manufacturers and brands of ENERGY STAR® certified decorative light strings.

Tax Credits, Rebates & Savings Website:

https://energy.gov/savings/search

Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

A recent fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

1. Candles

Who doesn’t love the romantic glow of candlelight? But, even if you enjoy their fragrance and ambiance, you might want to think twice before lighting a candle and leaving the room. From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

About one-third of these fires started in bedrooms, causing 39% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries. More than half of all candle fires start because of candles that were left too close to flammable items. They should always be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

2. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

3. Electrical & Lighting

Electrical fires can have a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. 

4. Dryers and washing machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

5. Lightning

Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, those caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

6. Children playing with fire

The NFPA says that children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year, causing approximately $172 million in property damage. July is the most active month for these fires, and males start the majority (83%) of them. Younger children under the age of six are more likely to start fires inside, using matches or a lighter as the ignition source. The most frequent sites for fires are the bedroom (39%), kitchen (8%) and living room/family room/den (6%). Older children are more likely to start fires outside.

7. Christmas trees

Like candle fires, Christmas tree fires are more common during the holidays, with 43% occurring in December and 39% in January. The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year and they are more likely to be serious because of the factors that can contribute to the fire: a dry tree, electrical lights and a fuel supply (gifts) under the tree. Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.

8. Cooking

The number one source of house fires is cooking – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 40% of all house fires, or an average of 156,600 per year, start this way, causing approximately $853 million in property damage. Two-thirds of the fires started because the food or other materials caught fire.

Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tried to put out the fire.

Several years ago in Florida, investigators saw a pattern of fraudulent house fires that started in the kitchen when the owners left food cooking on the stove while they ran to the store for a missing ingredient. Grease would catch on fire and the flames spread from there. 

Contact a Fire and Smoke damage Restoration contractor, for any Fire Damage and Smoke damage to your property.

Space Heater Safety Tips

11/16/2017 (Permalink)

Space Heater Safety Tips

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. 

Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.

Space heaters are, of course, designed to be hot. But they shouldn’t burn you or create a fire hazard.

Look for a sensor that shuts the heater off if it overheats. A switch that does the same if they tip over is a welcome plus for taller models, especially if kids and/or pets use the room, too.

Damaged power cords are one of the major causes of fires, injuries, and deaths associated with space heaters. Inspect electric space heater cords for damage regularly and never use an extension cord with an electric heater.

When you shop for an electric space heater, look for a label from a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) verifying that the heater's construction and performance meet voluntary U.S. safety standards.

 Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:

  • Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.

Smoke detector Tips, Carbon Monoxide Detector Tips,

11/7/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke detector Tips, Carbon Monoxide Detector Tips,

Smoke Detector 

A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial security devices issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself.

Smoke detectors are housed in plastic enclosures, typically shaped like a disk about 150 millimetres (6 in) in diameter and 25 millimetres (1 in) thick, but shape and size vary. Smoke can be detected either optically (photoelectric) or by physical process (ionization), detectors may use either, or both, methods. Sensitive alarms can be used to detect, and thus deter, smoking in areas where it is banned. Smoke detectors in large commercial, industrial, and residential buildings are usually powered by a central fire alarm system, which is powered by the building power with a battery backup. Domestic smoke detectors range from individual battery-powered units, to several interlinked mains-powered units with battery backup; with these interlinked units, if any unit detects smoke, all trigger even if household power has gone out.

The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. The US National Fire Protection Association reports 0.53 deaths per 100 fires in homes with working smoke alarms compared to 1.18 deaths in homes without . Some homes don't have any smoke alarms, some don't have working batteries; sometimes the alarm fails to detect the fire.

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide detection

Carbon monoxide sensors detect potentially fatal concentrations of carbon monoxidegas, which may build up due to faulty ventilation where there are combustion appliances such as heaters and cookers, although there is no uncontrolled fire outside the appliance.

High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) may indicate a fire, and can be detected by a carbon dioxide sensor. Such sensors are often used to measure levels of CO2 which may be undesirable but not indicative of a fire; this type of sensor can also be used to detect and warn of the much higher levels generated by a fire. One manufacturer says that detectors based on CO2 levels are the fastest fire indicators, and also, unlike ionization and optical detectors, detect fires that do not generate smoke, such as those fuelled by alcohol or gasoline. CO2 fire detectors are not susceptible to false alarms due to particles, making them particularly suitable for use in dusty and dirty environments.

Check and Test both alarms on a Schedule.

Check with your local Building Code Enforcement, with more details on both items...

Chimney Fires and Smoke damage

11/6/2017 (Permalink)

Chimney Fires and Smoke damage

A chimney fire is the combustion (burning) of residue deposits referred to as soot or creosote, on the inner surfaces of chimney tiles, flue liners, stove pipes, etc.

Causes

The process begins with the incomplete combustion of fuel in the attached appliance, usually a wood or coal stove, or open fire. The unburned volatiles are heated to the vapor state but not consumed due to a lack of adequate heat and oxygen within the appliance. These volatile distillates escape into the chimney, where they contact cooler surfaces and condense into tar-like deposits, and soot. Successive layers accumulate until either the chimney plugs completely, or the chimney reaches a temperature and oxygen level at which the deposit will ignite. Due to the concentrated level of volatile material now present, these fires tend to burn very hot.

Alternatively, a chimney fire may be caused by old bird's nests which have fallen into the chimney and lodged there. When a hot ember ignites the nests, the fire can be just as serious as one caused by ignition of soot. In very old houses, the chimney may also be very large and thick enough to withstand the fire.

The high temperatures may affect the strength of the chimney causing distortion of metal structures, and potential failure of ceramic structures.

Causes of the deposits which lead to chimney fires include using green/wet fuels, the operation of appliances with insufficient air intake, and low operating temperatures for prolonged periods followed by hot fires. Such practice typically occurs when mild weather periods are followed by cold snaps.

There are several major issues that are at risk from a chimney fire event. There is of course the danger of burning debris being expelled from the top of the chimney that could ignite other portions of the structure, but the major cause of damage is where the heat of the chimney fire will pass through the masonry materials and overheat nearby combustibles. Even though codes and standards require a specific clearance of the framing members from the masonry materials, often this is not found in actual construction. Many fires reported as chimney fires, are actually structure fires ignited by the overheating of the framing members. These structure fires can be traced to the normal use of the fireplace or sealed combustion chamber.

Prevention

Steps to prevent this buildup of deposits include only running appliances hot during the initial ignition phase regularly, only building short and hotter fires, regular cleaning of flues using a chimney sweep, and only using internal chimney structures where possible versus a chimney attached to an external wall. The latter tends to be cooler, contributing to the problem, as well as creating downdrafts which tend to introduce smoke into the structure as the fire subsides. The nests of birds can be prevented by using a wire guard over the chimney.

Control includes denial of oxygen, addition of extinguishing agents, and removing heat sources. In case of chimney fire, the local fire department should be called immediately: there is a risk of the chimney failing, and/or overheating adjoining structures, which could cause the fire to spread to other parts of the building. Additional hazards include the possible buildup of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide within the structure due to restricted flues.

Remember to Check and Change your Smoke Detectors and Carbon Dioxide Detector Batteries and Replace older one!

The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

10/27/2017 (Permalink)

The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

After a fire, soot damage is very typical. Soot can be a black flaky or oily or powdery substance which forms from incomplete combustion. Fine carbonized compounds cling to surfaces in your home like ceilings and walls, plus your possessions. Soot can be difficult to remove, and sometimes it is not possible to restore the surface to its pre-fire condition.

There are two types of sediment you can find after soot damage home – oily and dry. A quick check you can do to discover the type of residue you have is just to run your finger over a soot-covered surface. It is oily residue if it smears. Try not to make a mess. Better yet, leave it to us to inspect and clean.

You need an experienced fire damage restoration team working with you to clean the soot from your home thoroughly. We are standing by to help you as soon as the fire is out and everyone is safe. The longer you leave the smoky substance sitting in your home, the more damage it does. 

Heat from the fire pushes the soot and can cover everything in its way. Smoke looks for a kind of equilibrium and travels until its energy is used and it goes to cooler temperatures. When tested, soot can always be found on the acidic side of the pH scale. Acidic materials are destructive to a majority of elements found in nature. Over time, they keep degrading materials by oxidation which leads to discoloration, etching, corrosion or pitting. Stains over metals can yellow and soften. These reactions are ongoing from soot residues until they are removed. 

We can clean up oily residue with special degreasing agents, while we clean dry soot with cleaning sponges. Sometimes, soot will be oily in one room and dry in another. It all depends on the kinds of materials that were burned, so we check ahead of time before we begin remediation. 

Many varying types of damage occur after a fire, including water damage from firefighting efforts, but soot damage continues to eat away at the surfaces it is covering if left untouched.

Contents Restoration

We specialize in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Their expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. They pretest your belongings to determine what items they can restore to pre-fire condition. They use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

Move-Outs/Pack-Outs

If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to fire damage, then we can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. A move-out has several benefits, including:

  • A quicker remodeling process
  • Protecting items from potential damage
  • Protecting contents from further on-site damage

When restoration is completed, they will work with you to coordinate the move-in according to your needs. The services offered upon move-in may depend on your insurance coverage. 

Electronic Cleanup

Fire-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by fire. Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces. If the residues are not removed, corrosion causes electronic failure in the device. We will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  • Television sets
  • DVD players
  • Computers
  • And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

Document / Photograph Drying

When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the fire damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage condition, we can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.

Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:

  1. Air Drying
  2. Dehumidification
  3. Freezer Drying
  4. Vacuum Freeze Drying
  5. Vacuum Thermal Drying

Contents Claim Inventory Service

When a fire emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. We can help ease the worry and confusion during the recovery process by offering our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS), which provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. They take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding.

Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:

  • Preloss list and value of contents
  • Detailed and accurate report
  • Better information to settle claims quicker
  • Assistance with burden of proof for claims
  • Peace of mind when you need it most!

The 15 Must-Dos of Fall Yard Cleanup,

10/25/2017 (Permalink)

The 15 Must-Dos of Fall Yard Cleanup,

Autumn means football games and visits to the local pumpkin patch. It also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. The right preparation now will save you time and energy when spring rolls around, and will keep you and your family safe in the yard year-round. Make sure you get the most out of your yard next year by following our checklist of fall cleanup musts.

1. Clean out debris.

Fallen leaves and weeds are the perfect place for pests to settle in for the winter. Clear out flower beds to keep the critters at bay. Pay special attention to rose beds, as their foliage can foster disease over the winter.

2. Till the vegetable garden.

After the final harvest, pull out old vegetable plants, remove debris, and completely till the whole plot. If you compost, now is the time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for planting next spring.

3. Trim Rogue Branches.

Trim up any large or out-of-place tree branches that may cause trouble during the winter. You don’t want any branches breaking and falling during the snowfall to come.

4. Clean out the gutters.

Not all fall cleanup is in the yard. This is the perfect time to clear leaves and other debris from rain gutters. Check for proper drainage, clear out any blockages with a small garden trowel, and rinse with a hose.

5. Dry everything out.

Drain all water from hoses, fountains, and drip irrigation systems, and store them in a dry place. Water left standing over the winter may damage your equipment.

6. Aerate.

Break up soil to keep water from pooling and guarantee that nutrients will reach the roots over the winter. A garden fork will do the job for small yards, but larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent for a reasonable price.

7. Feed the lawn.

Send your yard into winter with the nutrients it needs to survive the long, cold sleep. Add a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth and enjoy a lush, green lawn come spring.

8. Rake and mulch.

Don’t let fallen leaves get the best of you; if left unattended they can suffocate the grass. Rake them up, shred them, and use them as mulch for young trees, shrubs, and flower beds. You might even be able to skip the raking part if you use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves in your yard.

9. Prune trees and shrubs.

Trim any dead branches and cut back overgrown trees and bushes. If you have blooming perennials like clematis or roses, now is the time to prune them and train the branches.

10. Give it one last mow.

Set your mower to a low setting and give the lawn a close buzz before winter sets in. This helps the soil dry out more quickly in the spring, which leads to a lusher lawn.

11. Divide and cut back perennials.

If your perennials really took off this year, go ahead and spread the love. Divide plants and add them to other beds where they will also do well. This saves money and time in the spring. Fall-blooming perennials like chrysanthemums shouldn’t be divided now — wait and divide them in the spring.

12. Protect cold-sensitive plants.

Keep sensitive perennials, shrubs, and roses in top shape through the cold days of winter. Add mulch to the base and wrap plants in cloth barriers to prevent damage from freezing. Depending on the hardiness of the plant and your climate, you can use a single sheet or blanket or wrap them in a combination of cloth and plastic.

13. Plant bulbs, shrubs, and fall annuals.

Some plants do best when planted in the fall. If you want to add new shrubs or spring bulbs like hyacinth, now is the time to get them in the ground. Fall annuals like pansies are also a great addition to keep some color in your yard as other plants go to sleep.

14. Protect the deck.

Prevent the growth of mold and mildew by giving the deck a good power wash. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from a garden store. Once the deck is clean and dry, add a weatherproofing stain to protect the wood from moisture damage over the winter.

15. Clean tools and store them.

Don’t throw your gardening tools in the shed and forget about them until spring. Take time to give them a good cleaning and add a light coat of oil to prevent rust during the cold season.

If you follow this checklist you’re bound to have a wonderfully winterized yard that will be ready to wow you with lush, green bounty once the warm weather returns.

The Big DIY Projects That Will Save on Insurance

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

The Big DIY Projects That Will Save on Insurance

DIY projects could save you money on your insurance premiums. Home improvements, whether it’s remodeling to sell or regular repairs, are part of being a homeowner.

With proper preparation and guidance, homeowners can tackle some of the biggest DIY projects without hurting their pocketbooks. We’ll take a look at some of the more costly professional home improvement projects and provide tips on how homeowners can not only do it themselves, but how doing so could lower their home insurance premiums.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC): Staying Current Saves Money

updating and keeping the HVAC system in good working condition, especially in older homes, can reduce homeowner’s insurance premiums. A good rule of thumb is that a system should always be less than 10 years old. If a system is over 10 years old, insurance premiums are likely to rise.

Over time, the insulation on outdoor air conditioner lines can wear, age, and begin to rot — which can cost the homeowner valuable energy. A great DIY project for air conditioner repair is replacing the rotten insulation.

Roof Improvements

With the threat of damage from weather and natural disasters, the roof is one of the most important parts of the home that needs maintaining. Being proactive in roof maintenance is best, and Darras suggests homeowners invest in impact-resistant roofing, especially if they live in an area known for hail, strong winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Doing so can cut insurance premiums as much as 30-40%.

One way homeowners can lower their insurance bill is to choose a Tough Roof.

It’s best for homeowners to talk to their insurance agents to learn about specific discounts for materials other than standard asphalt for the roof. While metal roofing will usually provide the largest discount, it can be much more costly than standard asphalt shingles. Experts suggest considering heavier-grade Class 4 modified asphalt and shake shingles, which include a 30- to 50-year limited warranty. This is a more economical alternative than replacing a roof damaged by storms.

Routine roof inspection and maintenance is important because fixing a roof can be the most expensive home repair an owner may face with full replacements ranging from $2,000 to $12,000.

While many roofing repairs are best left to the experts, some repairs — such as fixing a roof damaged by a tree or branch — can be a DIY project.

Pool and Fence Safety Improvements

Build a fence around a pool is not only is a smart insurance saver — in some states it’s a requirement. Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina have pool fence codes.

In addition to the insurance benefit, this security measure protects the homeowner and neighbors because it reduces the chance of someone wandering into the yard, falling into your pool, and accidentally drowning — which is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Death by drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths for kids between 1 and 14. Besides increasing your insurance coverage and building a fence around it, pool owners should keep it covered or drained when not in use.

Fences also help lower premiums by acting as barrier to vandalism or burglary, and some underwriters will classify fences as a form of security like an alarm system.

While building a fence can be a DIY project, there are important first steps to consider. Planning for a fence is more than picking the material. Homeowners need to:

  • Be sure of the property line. Building on the neighbor’s yard — not good.
  • Know where cables are. While this isn’t a DIY, it is free (usually). Ask your utility company to mark the location of buried power cables with spray paint. This helps ensure you won’t ruin your fence building experience by splitting a buried power cable with a shovel and lighting up like a Christmas tree. Additionally, locate any buried water lines to swimming pools, low-voltage lines for decorative lighting, sprinkler systems, and tree roots you don’t want any injury stemming from building your fence.
  • Be a good neighbor. It’s not just a slogan. Inform your neighbors about your DIY construction plans.

Focus on Security

There are numerous improvements homeowners can perform for the purpose of enhancing security, many of which will lower insurance premiums.

A few examples are:

  • Installing home sprinkler systems and putting up smoke detectors.
  • Using shatterproof windows instead of standard window panes.
  • Putting in motion-sensor lighting.
  • Making sure all electrical wiring is up-to-date. Insurance companies pay particular attention to electrical wiring being up to code because this makes homes less likely to experience an electrical fire.
  • Leak detectors can warn homeowners of plumbing failures by using battery-operated or plug-in temperature sensors to detect furnace breakdowns which lead to frozen and bursting pipes. Installing a leak detector can easily be a DIY project. The detector will sound an alarm or automatically shut off the home’s main water line valve when water touches the sensor. This installation can drop insurance premiums by two to five percent.
  • People with homes in areas prone to hurricanes can put up storm shutters — which Darras said can save the homeowner up to 30% on the hurricane portion of the insurance premium and up to 60% in coastal areas.

Before homeowners attempt any DIY improvement projects, they should consult with their insurance provider to get a list of discounts available to them.

Besides added safety, there’s no point in wasting a ton of money if it won’t actually lower premiums. Ask for specifics. It may be that your alarm system has to meet X, Y, and Z criteria in order to lower your premium. You want to make sure you are following these guidelines to the tee before investing in any home improvement project.

If done properly, DIY home improvement projects stand to be of dual benefit — homeowners maintain the upkeep of their homes and shave money off insurance premiums.

Fire Damage Restoration, Fire damage in Woolwich NJ, Fire damage in Washington Township NJ, Smoke damage in Woolwich NJ,

10/12/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoration, Fire damage in Woolwich NJ, Fire damage in Washington Township NJ, Smoke damage in Woolwich NJ,

Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. 

After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to 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 fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Fire Damage, and Restoration, and the Process of Fire Restoration, Fire Damage in Woolwich NJ

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage, and Restoration, and the Process of Fire Restoration, Fire Damage in Woolwich NJ,

The process of fire restoration can be very involved. Private homeowners and companies can oftentimes be devastated by the damage caused by this kind of event. One aspect that gives peace of mind involves knowing when the right professional has been hired. That is one of the reasons why it is important to hire a firm that is associated with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.  

Homeowners and business owners may be in shock from the initial devastation. It is important to try and follow the proper steps to achieve a complete fire restoration. Service providers that are associated with the Institute will have the following distinctions: current training, safety and health certifications, vast amounts of experience in restoration projects and the proper licenses and insurance information. Customers should also check all references and obtain price quotes prior to hiring anyone. Any contracts that are presented should be reviewed closely.

The first step in the process is to clean up as much of the existing area as possible. If the area is not immediately cleaned, soot residue and permanent damage can be left behind. If the homeowner or business owner does the initial cleaning, it is important to follow these steps. When cleaning, always use dust masks and open the area for proper ventilation. Clean from the ceilings to the floors and vacuum all floors and upholstery. Wash any items that are able to be laundered. Clean the outside with a pressure washer if available. 

If immediate clean up is not done, it can lead to devastating effects. Within minutes of fire and smoke damage, appliances and many items will discolor to a yellow hue. After a few hours, acid will stain bathrooms and many other areas of the home or business. Within days, walls will discolor permanently and items will begin to rust due to the acid residue.  Finally, after weeks the cost of clean-up will become substantially more expensive. The building and furnishings can be permanently damaged by the acid left behind. Soot residue will be layered throughout the home or business. For these reasons, it is vital to contact a professional associated with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to utilize fire restoration techniques in an effort to return the home or business to a preloss state. One company or service provider should be able to handle the damage. The seal of Certification by the Institute should be shown on any provider’s website. This shows the customer the reliability and the expertise of the service provider.

Residue and smoky odors need to be removed immediately. Professionals will use the process of fire restoration to achieve satisfactory results. These providers will remove the source of the odor, clean any items that can be salvaged, get rid of any lingering odor with an odor counteractant and deodorizing fog. Finally, the provider will seal salvageable items to encapsulate odor and prevent further recontamination.

Homeowners and businesses that are educated in the fire restoration process are able to minimize the cost of repair. Professionals can be contacted in a timely manner to return the area to a preloss state.  By hiring the right professionals the victims can have some peace of mind during a very stressful time.

Fire Safety for Kids, Protecting and Educating your children

5/11/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Safety for Kids, Protecting and Educating your children

A home fire is a devastating event, and one that you never count on happening. Your children are most at risk when this disaster occurs. In fact, children under five are twice as likely as other people to die in a home fire. Tragically, many home fires are started by children playing with dangerous household items – especially lighters and matches. Taking sensible precautions in the home and teaching your child how to escape from a fire can help your family avoid this type of heartbreak.

Prevent Your Child from Starting FiresThe U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 300 people are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed each year as the result of children playing with fire.

Keep matches, lighters and other ignitable substances in a secured location out of your child’s reach. Only use lighters with child-resistant features.

Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your child knocking over a candle.

Help Your Child Survive a FireInstall smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button. Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.

Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home, and where to meet up outside.

Practice your fire escape plan at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

Emphasize “get out, stay out.” Only professional firefighters should enter a building that is on fire—even if other family members, pets or prized possessions are inside.

Use quick-release devices on barred windows and doors. Security bars without release devices can trap you in a deadly fire. If you have security bars on your windows, be sure one window in each sleeping room has a release device.

Consider getting escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second or third floor. Learn how to use them, and store them near the windows.

Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

Do You Have a Fire or Smoke Damage in Your Property? Have A Professional Company Handle The Process Of Fire Restoration.

5/2/2017 (Permalink)

Do You Have a Fire or Smoke Damage in Your Property? Have A Professional Company Handle The Process Of Fire Restoration.

Do You Have a Fire or Smoke Damage in Your Property? Have A Professional Company Handle The Process Of Fire Restoration.

The process of fire restoration can be very involved. Private homeowners and companies can oftentimes be devastated by the damage caused by this kind of event. One aspect that gives peace of mind involves knowing when the right professional has been hired. That is one of the reasons why it is important to hire a firm that is associated with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.  

Homeowners and business owners may be in shock from the initial devastation. It is important to try and follow the proper steps to achieve a complete fire restoration. Service providers that are associated with the Institute will have the following distinctions: current training, safety and health certifications, vast amounts of experience in restoration projects and the proper licenses and insurance information. Customers should also check all references and obtain price quotes prior to hiring anyone. Any contracts that are presented should be reviewed closely.

The first step in the process is to clean up as much of the existing area as possible. If the area is not immediately cleaned, soot residue and permanent damage can be left behind. If the homeowner or business owner does the initial cleaning, it is important to follow these steps. When cleaning, always use dust masks and open the area for proper ventilation. Clean from the ceilings to the floors and vacuum all floors and upholstery. Wash any items that are able to be laundered. Clean the outside with a pressure washer if available. 

If immediate clean up is not done, it can lead to devastating effects. Within minutes of fire and smoke damage, appliances and many items will discolor to a yellow hue. After a few hours, acid will stain bathrooms and many other areas of the home or business. Within days, walls will discolor permanently and items will begin to rust due to the acid residue.  Finally, after weeks the cost of clean-up will become substantially more expensive. The building and furnishings can be permanently damaged by the acid left behind. Soot residue will be layered throughout the home or business. For these reasons, it is vital to contact a professional associated with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to utilize fire restoration techniques in an effort to return the home or business to a preloss state. One company or service provider should be able to handle the damage. The seal of Certification by the Institute should be shown on any provider’s website. This shows the customer the reliability and the expertise of the service provider.

Residue and smoky odors need to be removed immediately. Professionals will use the process of fire restoration to achieve satisfactory results. These providers will remove the source of the odor, clean any items that can be salvaged, get rid of any lingering odor with an odor counteractant and deodorizing fog. Finally, the provider will seal salvageable items to encapsulate odor and prevent further recontamination.

Homeowners and businesses that are educated in the fire restoration process are able to minimize the cost of repair. Professionals can be contacted in a timely manner to return the area to a preloss state.  By hiring the right professionals the victims can have some peace of mind during a very stressful time.

Property Damage claims Soft goods and Apparel...Yes, SERVPRO Can clean Both!

4/27/2017 (Permalink)

Property Damage claims Soft goods and Apparel...Yes, SERVPRO Can clean Both!

2016 Xactimate claim data shows that there are more soft contents and clothing than all other contents on property claims by a long shot. See the full video report here: https://lnkd.in/gAeVMhQ

The Esporta Certified Operator cleans twice as much as restoration dry cleaners. With our game-changing technology, you’ll never need to send soft contents to a dry cleaners again. Eliminate the competition from dry cleaners and make more money.

Esporta Certified Operators restore smoke, soot, and water impacted soft contents using the patented Esporta® Wash System.  Traditional restoration companies and restoration dry cleaners typically consider much of these items non-restorable and they end up in a landfill.  

 The Esporta Certified Operators cleans twice as much as restoration dry cleaners. With our game-changing technology, you’ll never need to send soft contents to a dry cleaners again. Eliminate the competition from dry cleaners and make more money.

Esporta Certified Operators restore smoke, soot, and water impacted soft contents using the patented Esporta® Wash System.  Traditional restoration companies and restoration dry cleaners typically consider much of these items non-restorable and they end up in a landfill.  By choosing an Esporta Certified Operator, you can make a big difference. When textiles are sent to the landfill, it leaves the fabric dyes and chemicals to leach into the soil, contaminating both surface and groundwater.

The Esporta Certified Operators provide an unparalleled competitive advantage. Using washing technology & detergents more advanced than any other products in the market, our technology cleans 90% of soft contents that would be considered irrecoverable using any other cleaning method.

 What makes the Esporta Certified Operators so unique is that it is the only process with scientific validation to support it's ability to remove the bacterial contamination found in flood affected goods.  The use of standardized wash programs with proprietary detergents and disinfectants assure consistent decontamination.   No other washing technology has been able to make this claim.

The Most Common Causes of House Fires

4/21/2017 (Permalink)

The Most Common Causes of House Fires

The Most Common Causes of House Fires


A house can easily catch fire from the misuse of appliances and heating equipment to smoking in bedrooms.


 1. Cooking Equipment


Pots and pans can overheat and cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and leaves cooking unattended. Always stay in the room, or ask someone to watch your food, when cooking on hotplates.


2. Heating


Keep portable heaters at least one meter away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even yourself. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.


3. Smoking in bedrooms


Bedrooms are best to be kept off limits for smoking. A cigarette that is not put out properly can cause a flame, as the butt may stay alight for a few hours. It could burst into flames if it came into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture. Did you know that fires started in the bedroom or lounge make up 73% of all house fire fatalities?¹


4. Electrical Equipment


An electrical appliance, such as a toaster can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. A power point extension cord can also be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Double check the appliances and power points in your home.


5. Candles


Candles look and smell pretty, but if left unattended they can cause a room to easily burst into flames. Keep candles away from any obviously flammable items such as books and tissue boxes. Always blow a candle out before leaving a room. Did you know that in Perth last year 34 house fires started as a result of candles?²


6. Curious Children


Kids can cause a fire out of curiosity, to see what would happen if they set fire to an object. Keep any matches or lighters out of reach of children, to avoid any curiosity turned disaster. Install a smoke alarm in your child’s room and practice a home escape plan with your children and family in case there was a fire. Teach kids understand the “stop, drop, cover and roll” drill as well as knowing their address if they needed to call 000.


7. Faulty Wiring


Homes with inadequate wiring can cause fires from electrical hazards. Some signs to see if you’ve bad wiring are: 1) Lights dim if you use another appliance; 2) For an appliance to work, you have to disconnect another; 3) Fuses blow or trip the circuit frequently. Have a licenced electrician come and inspect you house, or contact your landlord if you have any of the above occurrences.


8. Barbecues


Barbecues are great for an outdoor meal, but should always be used away from the home, tablecloths or any plants and tree branches. Keep BBQs regularly maintained and cleaned with soapy water and clean any removable parts. Check the gas bottle for any leaks before you use it each time.


9. Flammable Liquids


If you have any flammable liquids in the home or garage such as petrol, kerosene or methylated spirits, keep them away from heat sources and check the label before storing. Be careful when pouring these liquids.


10. Lighting


Lamp shades and light fittings can build up heat if they are very close to light globes. Check around the house to make sure. Lamp bases can become a hazard if they are able to be knocked over easily, and so should be removed if they are. Check that down lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling timbers.


The above tips are a good guide to avoiding a fire in your home. However it’s a good idea to protect yourself with adequate property insurance, cover to ensure you are covered in the unlikely event a fire were to happen.

Fire damage

1/20/2017 (Permalink)

fire

Fire can cause large amounts of damage on your property. However, there are other damages that can seriously affect the building as well. Smoke odor invades building materials and personal belongings of every kind. Smoke soot damages walls that have not been burned by flames. Experiencing a fire can be devastating, and SERVPRO understands that your cherished possessions and memories are at stake. As fire restoration experts, we specialize in soot and smoke damage as well.

 

If your home is damaged by fire, it is critical to contact a company that specializes in the fire and smoke restoration process as soon as possible to prevent additional damage. Your local SERVPRO is available 24/7 to help minimize the cost of fire and smoke damage to your home.

 

Our fire restoration process includes:

  • 24/7 emergency services – onsite and assisting you within hours
  • Prompt damage assessment, pretesting and estimates
  • Emergency board-up and structural stabilization
  • Environmentally friendly methods for cleaning soot and other residue from fire damage
  • Smoke odor removal, sanitation and air purification
  • Careful removal and securing of damaged household goods, personal possessions and other contents for cleaning and restoration
  • Industrial grade water extractors, dehumidifiers, air movers and other equipment used to efficiently remove water resulting from fire extinguishing efforts
  • Reconstruction of the affected areas
  • Disinfectants and antimicrobials used to prevent mold and mildew

 

Why Trust SERVPRO

 

We will get your property back to normal faster. Our specialized training, cleaning methods and equipment combined with our experience means quicker clean up and lower smoke damage restoration costs. We can save your personal possessions using specialized equipment and cleaning methods, often being able to restore the contents of your home to their prior condition. We will assist with the insurance claims process to make it as painless as possible for you.

chimney fires

1/18/2017 (Permalink)

fire damage

No One Welcomes a Chimney Fire
A chimney fire in action can be impressive. Indications of a chimney fire have been described as creating:

  • loud cracking and popping noise
  • a lot of dense smoke, and
  • an intense, hot smell

Chimney fires can burn explosively – noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors or people passing by. Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about.

Fire damage

1/16/2017 (Permalink)

fire

In 2015, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,280 civilian deaths, 15,700 civilian injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage.

  • 501,500 were structure fires, causing 2,685 civilian deaths, 13,000 civilian injuries, and $10.3 billion in property damage.
  • 204,500 were vehicle fires, causing 500 civilian fire deaths, 1,875 civilian fire injuries, and $1.8 billion in property damage.
  • 639,500 were outside and other fires, causing 95 civilian fire deaths, 825 civilian fire injuries, and $252 million in property damage.

The 2015 U.S. fire loss clock a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 63 seconds.

  • One home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds.
  • One civilian fire injury was reported every 34 minutes.
  • One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 40 minutes.
  • One outside and other fire was reported every 52 seconds.
  • One highway vehicle fire was reported every 3 minutes 1 seconds.

arson

1/4/2017 (Permalink)

Executive Summary

During 2007-2011, an estimated 282,600 intentional fires were reported to U.S. fire departments each year, with associated annual losses of 420 civilian deaths, 1,360 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage. Outside or unclassified fires accounted for three-quarters (75%) of these incidents, while 18% involved structures, and 7% were vehicle fires.

Despite representing one-fifth (18%) of all intentional fires, structure fires accounted for 92% of civilian deaths, 84% of civilian injuries, and 86% of direct property damage caused by intentional fires. Sixty-three percent of intentional structure fires occurred in residential properties, 6% occurred in storage facilities, 4% occurred in educational properties, 4% occurred in mercantile or business properties, and 3% occurred in public assembly properties.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of intentional structure fires occurred in structures that are occupied and operating, and these fires account for most of the associated losses. Fourteen percent occurred in vacant, unsecured properties, and 8% in vacant, secured properties. The most common item first ignited in intentional structure fires was rubbish, trash or waste, but a disproportionate share of the property damage resulted from fires beginning with flammable or combustible liquids or gases, (possibly accelerants).

Half (51%) of intentionally set home structure fires occurred between 3:00 p.m. and midnight. Lighters (27%) and matches (23%) were the most common heat source in intentional home fires. The most common area of origin in intentional home structure fires was the bedroom (12% of these fires). In educational properties, more than half (56%) of intentionally set structure fires began in the bathroom. In storage properties, the garage was the most common specified area of origin (24% of fires), and in mercantile or business properties the most common specified area of origin was the bathroom (8% of fires).

Outside or unclassified fires accounted for 75% of intentionally set fires. In this report, outside trash or rubbish fires are often listed separately from other outside and unclassified fires. This is because outside trash and rubbish fires have limited reporting requirements. Nearly one-third (30%) of outside or unclassified fires began in a lawn, field or other open area. Matches were the heat source in two out of five (38%) of these fires, and a lighter was the heat source in 22%. Light vegetation, including grass, was the item first ignited in half (28%) of the fires.

In intentionally set vehicle fires, the most common items first ignited were flammable or combustible liquids or gases, piping or filter (29%) and vehicle seats (28%). The most common heat sources were matches (24% of fires), lighters (16%) and incendiary devices (13%).

According to the FBI’s Crime in the United States, one in five (19%) of arson cases were cleared by arrest or exceptional means, and two out of five of the individuals arrested for arson were under 18 years of age.

tree fires

1/3/2017 (Permalink)

This report provides estimates of the causes and circumstances of home structure fires that began with the ignition of Christmas trees during the five-year period of 2010-2014. Trend data are also presented. Previously published descriptions of Christmas tree fires are also included to show how these fires can happen.

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 210 home1 structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees in 2010-2014. These fires caused an annual average of six civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damage. 
  • On average, one of every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are much more likely to be deadly than most other fires.
  • Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January.
  • In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.

1Homes include one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family housing.

electrical fire

1/2/2017 (Permalink)

electrical fire

This report has sections on statistics on home and non-home structure fires involving either electrical failure or malfunction in any equipment or involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment, with separate sections for each of the major types of home electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Trends, some risk comparisons, and suggested safety tips are also included.

Executive Summary

Electrical fires
The most inclusive and direct interpretation of “electrical fire” is a fire involving some type of electrical failure or malfunction. Any equipment powered by electricity can have such a failure.

In 2011, an estimated 47,700 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction as a factor contributing to ignition. These fires resulted in 418 civilian deaths, 1,570 civilian injuries, and $1.4 billion in direct property damage. In 2007-2011, home electrical fires represented 13% of total home structure fires, 18% of associated civilian deaths, 11% of associated civilian injuries, and 20% of associated direct property damage. 

In 2011, an estimated 16,400 non-home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction as a factor contributing to ignition. These fires resulted in 13 civilian deaths, 243 civilian injuries, and $501 million in direct property damage. In 2007-2011, non-home electrical fires represented 13% of total non-home structure fires, 5% of associated civilian deaths, 13% of associated civilian injuries, and 21% of associated direct property damage.

The national estimates in this report are derived from data reported to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).  These statistics include fires reported as “confined fires,” for which detailed reporting is not required. Estimates of detailed characteristics for confined fires require statistical allocation of a large share of unknowns and so involve less confidence. 

Half (48%) of 2007-2011 reported non-confined U.S. home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction had some type of electrical distribution or lighting equipment as equipment involved in ignition. The leading other types of equipment involved in ignition were fan (6%), washer or dryer (6%), space heater (4%), air conditioning equipment (4%), water heater (3%), and range (3%).